September-October 2013 | CASTLES IN THE SAND



The Cherrixes' stunning South Point home is one of the main attractions on this year's Sand Castle Home Tour

Written By: Nick Brandi | Photographer: Grant L. Gursky

September is here, and that means it’s time once again for the Art League of Ocean City’s annual Sand Castle Home Tour, to be held on the 19th and 20th from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. This year marks the ninth such outing of the self-guided tour, 
offering 10 uniquely beautiful homes that both individually and collectively represent the coastal lifestyle and aesthetic sensibilities that have made the Eastern Shore an attraction to millions around the world.

A centerpiece of this year’s tour is the captivating South Point residence of Janet and Vincent “Chum” Cherrix. Situated in the backyard of Rum Point Golf Course in Berlin, South Point is almost legendary as the setting of some of the area’s most impressive homes, and the Cherrixes’ 3.5-acre tract is certainly no exception. Designed by eminent architect Jeff Schoellkopf (whose work, incidentally, accounts for two of the homes on the 2013 Sand Castle tour) and built by the esteemed M&O Builders out of West Ocean City, the 3,600 sq. ft. Red Cedar-shake home was inspired by the work of architect Robert A. M. Stern, who among other things specializes in Nantucket Shingle Style homes.

The three-level structure boasts banks of Craftsman-style windows throughout, facilitating incomparable views of Sinepuxent Bay, Assateague Island and the verdant topography of the Rum Point Golf Course. On fair-weather days, you can see clear to the ocean from the third floor. Sprawling decks and verandas with beaded ceilings see to it that these panoramic vistas can be equally enjoyed al fresco.

When it came to the interior, Janet Cherrix did all the heavy lifting herself. Not that she’s opposed to interior decorators or designers, mind you, it’s just that this lifetime Ocean City local logically felt there was no way anyone else could muster the consuming passion she had for the endeavor. As a result, there are aesthetically appropriate yet sentimental traces and touches throughout that hark back to the seminal locales that represented “home” for her. One such example is the painting that hangs in the living room of the iconic Miami Court Motel, Ocean City’s first motor hotel, which Janet’s parents had owned for years and which local artist Bill Rolig (1957-2012) faithfully captured on canvas. In fact, the work of local artists forms an important part of the home’s elegant coastal aesthetic, with the likes of Patrick Henry, Lynne Lockhart and Ron Lambert, in addition to Rolig, adorning the walls at several points.

When touring the Cherrix house, be sure to check out the amazing Rumford fireplace in the living room, which is not only capped by an authentic ship’s timber (which Janet had excavated herself from the marsh that lies on her property) but is pocked with black stones that Janet found on a beach in Oregon, giving the fireplace a bona fide bicoastal pedigree. A similarly earthy effect is achieved in the den, where deliciously rustic pecky-cypress walls bear photographic testament to Janet’s extensive travels and serve as an ideal conversation catalyst.

The dining room, meanwhile, is another special treat. Containing some of the most magnificent artwork in the house, the main bragging right arguably comes in the form of the table, chairs and sideboard — all of which come from a single walnut tree that was raised on Chum’s century-old family farm in Snow Hill. Janet reports that craftsman C. Tuebner Hopkins created the wooden masterpieces. Off the dining room is the kitchen, which sports a center island topped in Brazilian granite as well as mission-style cabinetry and accent lighting, along with sea-themed pulls and handles on drawers and doors. Photography by Andrew Kennery and a collage by Peg Warfield embellish the walls.

Speaking of sports, be sure to take an extra-close look at the pool table that dominates Chum’s room on the second level. That’s the actual table on which Buddy Hall won the 1998 U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship in Chesapeake, Va.

Elsewhere on the second level wait the home’s three bedrooms and baths. Whereas the master suite summarily soothes with sueded walls in apricot and a lovely Biedermeier-inspired four-poster bed, its attendant bath shines with the opulence of copper accent borders around the tub.

The second bedroom is what Janet refers to as “Grandmother’s room,” and it boasts an evocative East Lake Victorian headboard, footboard, dresser and mirror with embedded ceramic tile that is creatively echoed as accent tile in its guest bath. The “Seaside room,” meanwhile, is just perfect for the Cherrixes’ grandchildren, with its two beds and sitting niche under an interesting eyebrow window.

The home’s tasteful bedrooms are but a prelude to the majestic tower, which presides from the third level. Naturally, the views are best from this heady vantage point, with an amazing perspective of not only the bay but also the ocean on clear days. It goes without saying, of course, that this is where the Cherrixes’ telescope resides, as suggested by the star-dappled ceiling overhead.

The 2013 Sand Castle Home Tour kicks off with a cocktail party sponsored by the Gateway Grand, at the home of Jim and Jan Perdue, on Wednesday, September 11 from 6 p.m.–8 p.m. Reservations for the cocktail party are $75 per person and may be purchased by calling the ALOC or visiting their website.


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